Councillors a burden on Tasmania

MUNICIPALITIES throughout Tasmania must ask themselves whether their councils are bleeding them of precious rate revenue to pay too many councillors.
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The Examiner has revealed today how 14 of the state’s municipalities are serving a ratepayer population of less than 10,000.

In the case of Flinders Island, a council of seven serves a population of only 776, and King Island has nine councillors serving 1566.

In Victoria the Geelong council has 13 councillors serving a population of 220,000.

Across Victoria the ratio of councillors to population is about one per 8912, while in Tasmania it’s one for only 1822.

The 14 councils with populations under 10,000 have aldermen costs totalling more than $1.8 million, or on average $136,000 per council in councillor fees.

Quite apart from the debate about the number of councils in the state, it is plain waste and overgovernment to have so many aldermen for the small populations.

Ratepayers and taxpayers have enough of their precious net incomes compulsorily acquired by governments in rates and taxes without having to pay more than is necessary to keep an oversupply of aldermen in a job.

You wouldn’t want to merge the Flinders Island Council with any other because it is an island, but surely one councillor per 111 ratepayers is ridiculous, and tantamount to lining pockets for no net gain.

Even Break O’Day Council has nine councillors serving 6194 and George Town has nine serving a population of 6636.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania must take a lead and make some glaringly obvious savings.

Otherwise someone else will do it for them. Tasmania is a small, diverse state, but no more diverse than some other states.

We are persisting with luxuries we cannot afford, and which other states ditched long ago.

Tasmania cannot expect support from other states on issues like GST distribution when our leaders and politicians have no desire to reform the way Tasmania governs itself.

– BARRY PRISMALL, deputy editor

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